VICTORIA AND QUEENSLAND TAKE BACK-TO-BACK TITLES

Melbourne, Australia, December 8, 2014

Victoria’s University Blues women’s volleyball team has staged a remarkable comeback to win the Australian Volleyball League title for a second year in succession.

The defending champions were down two sets to love and 13-17 in the third before fighting back to beat Sydney’s UTSSU in five sets.

The final score was 25-27, 18-25, 25-23, 26-24, 15-13.

In the men’s final, defending champions, the Queensland Pirates, also made it back-to-back titles with a four-set win against Canberra Heat.

Staring at a straight sets loss, Uni Blues coach Shannon Winzer took a gamble and rested her two main strike players, Rebecca Walter and Hannah Martin, a move that upset the balance of the Sydney team.

“It was really hard, as a coach you feel a bit out of control,” Winzer said of her team’s third-set predicament. “I knew they had it in them from the start of the season, I knew they had the fight.

To take those girls off, it was a massive chance, and it paid off. I just had to give Bec a bit of time off.” Winzer said her team has enormous price.

“This whole club, we’re built around a really strong culture,” she said.

Canberra had dominated the men’s regular season, losing just the one match, but came into this weekend without star players Travis Passier and Simon Hone.

The opening set was a real arm wrestle, with Queensland eventually triumphing 28-26. The Pirates raced out of the blocks in the second, taking the set 25-13, before Canberra took the third set 25-20.

The final set went point-for-point until late, when Queensland stepped up the pressure to notch a 25-19 and three sets to one victory. Final scores: Qld d ACT 28-26, 25-13, 20-25, 25-19.

AVL MEN’S ALL STARS

  • Stephen Wallace (VVA)
  • John Dekker (Queensland Pirates)
  • Jack Halley (WA Hornets)
  • Simon Hone (ACT)
  • Shane Alexander (Queensland Pirates)
  • MVP: Shane Alexander (Queensland Pirates)

AVL WOMEN’S ALL STARS

  • Rebecca Walters (Uni Blues)
  • Phoebe Bell (Queensland Pirates)
  • Jess McMillan (Uni Blues)
  • Wendy Edwards (UTSSU)
  • Shae Sloane (Uni Blues)
  • MVP: Yoshiko Lieda (UTSSU)